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Modified vertical smoker w/ PID temperature controller PICS
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bullka
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Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Wed Oct 06 10 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got the smoker for a really good price and thanks for all of the advice.
I built a mock-up of my design shown above for the diffusing tubes in the smoker chamber... lets just say I am glad I built it first out of cardboard and not metal.
It was not as effective as I hoped.
That design was chocking off the smoke and not allowing enough smoke to enter the chamber.
I would have to make the diffuser tube much larger which I found out would not be worth it because it was extremely effective when I just built an elbow on top of the firebox to smoke chamber opening.
It allowed the maximum amount of smoke to come out without chocking it off and also diffused the smoke throughout the rest of the chamber better than my design.
Sometimes the simplest designs are the best!
Everyone's suggestions have been right about needing another opening from the firebox to smoke chamber because the single 6 inch tube is not enough. I am going to bring another tube up the opposite corner but I am not sure how big to make it. I am also going to cutoff the tube that goes from the firebox to out side. I am going to stop it inside the oven with a damper so I can heat-up / smoke the oven if needed.
It has been stated that they do not make ratio calculators for vertical smokers but I would think the regular Smoke Ratio Calculator should work for my vertical smoker because it is all relative to the size of chambers with their inlets and outlets.
With that being said I entered my smoke chamber in the calculator
27x38x27=27,702 divide by 1/3 = 9,234
But if I enter my already built fire box it = 21,280 which is much more than 1/3 of my smoke chamber.
How do I determine how large my firebox to cook chamber openings should be? Shouldn't the volume of the smoke chamber be the limiting factor, so I should size my openings to be large enough to feed the smoker chamber? So enter my firebox size as 1/3 the smoke chamber size which means I need two 7 inch diameter inlets?
I don't think it should matter that the firebox is bigger than required, just as long as I am getting the required smoke to the upper chamber which I would think can be calculated as long as it is rated to flow smoke from a firebox that is greater than 1/3 the smoke chamber. If I calculate it by the actual existing firebox size it would take two 10 inch tubes to feed the smoke chamber which I think is overkill.
Your thoughts?
Also, I do not have a lot of clearance to put a long stack on top of the smoke chamber to exhaust the smoke because this has to roll into my garage.
I only have a clearance of around 8 inches. According to the smoke calculator that means I would have to have 2 exhausts 8 inches in diameter around 8 inches tall. That does not sound right and would look odd.
Your thoughts?
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Tom C
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 1851
Location: N. California

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07 10 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bullka
First of all Pitmaker makes a vertical smoker that looks something like yours without the oven section. This might help.
http://pitmaker.com/

Second, I don't know much about vertical smokers and don't know how much I can help. I'm really guessing at this.
So, that being said, I'm not sure I would rely on the calculator to figure out this type of a smoker. The fact that it is vertical gives you some natural draft for the heat and smoke.

Based on the size you gave for the smoker, the firebox is about 77% of the size of the cooking section. In the picture it looks closer to 50-60%. Using the size you give, the calculator would have you needing six 6" pipes going from the firebox to the cook section. Not very realistic! I would think that another pipe on the other side like you were talking about would work fine. Some sort of diffusers moving smoke and heat to the center from the pipes would help as well.

Also, the calculator calls for too much of a smoke stack for this application. Like I said, the vertical cooking chamber is going to cause natural draft. I would not think you would need more than a 6"dia. stack about 6" tall or what ever you have room for to store the smoker where you want to go with it.

Last of all I would put more air intake on the smoker. In this regard I would follow the calculator and place two 4"x 8" openings, one on each side. I would rather have too much than not enough. You might also think of going with a larger door.

Anyway, that's my thoughts. If you can get it dialed in it will be a cool set up with the oven section. I'd really like to see it working well for you.
Best of luck!
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bullka
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Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07 10 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really appreciate the advice!
What your saying Tom makes since to me.
That is what I was hoping to do, so thanks for the affirmation.
I will keep everyone posted with updated pics.
The insulation is scheduled to be delivered today and I will assemble the insulated chamber this weekend.
Very Happy
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bullka
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Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Sat Oct 16 10 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got a few things done in the past week.
Insulated the doors and welded the outside panels on, still need to grind edges smooth.
Took out the old smoke stack that went straight to the outside.
Took off the frame temporarily for the cooking grate.
Put the sealer around the doors.
And patched all the holes in the cooking chamber.

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bullka
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Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Fri Oct 29 10 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just an update:

First of all, I changed the name of the post since I am in more of the building phase of this project.

Got the smoke chamber completely insulated and riveted the new panels on.
Cut the hole for the exhaust out of the smoke chamber and cut the other hole from the firebox to the smoke chamber.
I also made the firebox grate.
I plan on welding on the diffuser plates tonight and start the fire to season it.
I will finish the exhaust from smoke chamber later, but I plan on using it this weekend so it needs to be seasoned.

Insulated chamber


The second firebox to smoke chamber port


Firebox grate


I will let you know how it cooks, I am excited to see what it can do! Considering it did a really good job smoking meat when I bought it, it should be even better now!
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yossarian
BBQ Fan


Joined: 10 Nov 2009
Posts: 177
Location: Atlanta, GA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 29 10 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is a very intriguing design. I instantly thought pizza/bread oven when I saw this.
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bullka
Newbie


Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02 10 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used the smoker this weekend for the first time since I started modifying it and it did a great job!
The insulated smoke chamber held temperature very well and I was able to control the temperature fairly easily.
All of the food was pretty good but I did have problems with my temperature being too high for most of the smoke. I need to buy a better thermometer because half way through the cook I realized my thermometers was off because the meat was at too high of a temperature too early. So some of the meat got a little dry but the pork butt was that best I have ever done and all the meat had an incredible flavor. Mostly thanks to the 2/3 hickory and 1/3 fruit wood mix that I used. The 1/3 fruit is comprised of a mix of cherry, apple and peach wood. Got lucky on getting that stuff since my buddy was cutting down their orchard.
Anyways, here are some pics.
I got the handle put on, one of the racks put in, and the diffusers installed.

Just put the meat on, wish I would have remembered to get a picture when everything was done. It looked perfect!

I was able to fit 2 briskets, a porkbutt, 3 whole chickens, a rack of st louis style ribs and a small roast all on 1 rack. So after I build the other 3 racks I should be able to hold a lot of meat in the smoker.
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bullka
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Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11 10 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just got all of the equipment for my temperature controller.
I still need to get wiring and build the housing for the PID and fan.
I am wanting to add a speed pot to the fan so I can control the fan speed since this fan is more powerful than what I need.
If you have any suggestions on where to get one, let me know.
Here are the pics of the equipment.
The PID: I may need some help with how to wire this thing! http://www.lightobject.com/JLD612-Dual-Display-PID-Temperature-Controller-P43.aspx


Back / Top of the PID


Back / Bottom of the PID


The 25cfm fan http://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?item=16-1021&catname=electric


More fan pics




The thermocouple http://www.lightobject.com/10ft-3M-K-type-Thermocouple-with-8cm-pole-waterproof-P491.aspx


I am looking at building the PID and fan into one box and attaching it to the side of the smoker at about waist height. Then I will run tube steel from the fan down to the appropriate place in the firebox.
The reason for keeping them in the same box is so I don't have 2 external boxes on the smoker that make it look bad. I will build it so the whole unit can easily be detached from the smoker if needed.
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BRBBQ
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Joined: 01 Mar 2008
Posts: 1297
Location: Council Bluffs, IA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12 10 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool looking smoker
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bullka
Newbie


Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12 10 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found this great link for the PID I bought.
http://www.lightobject.info/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=320
It has a bunch of tips about this model, answers alot of questions you will have about how to setup this model.
One that may effect people using DC fans is this.
"When selecting components for your project, remember that you are limited to less than 8 volts and 40ma at the SSR output. That is why you need a Solid State Relay for SSR output. It should have a higher current rating than you will possibly need."
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evil16v
BBQ Fan


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 154
Location: Kansas

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12 10 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the exact same fan you have. It is a powerful fan! I was blowing heat right out of my 115 gallon RF, even choked off my a small cardboard box. I had to leave the door open to get rid of the pressure. then had to close the exaust dampers a lot to slow the flow, and build heat. Still didn't work very good. so then I restricted and distributed the air flow from the fan with a 2" pipe with a dozen holes in it and that worked way better. As the pid increased the duty cycle for more heat, as the load got somewhat smaller, it proved to still be too much. Sooo.....

I Bought a five dollar Leviton dimmer switch and added it to my control box. It controls the fan VERY nicely. It can handle about 25 times the wattage of the fan, so no issue there. I have yet to fire it up and try again as I am out of wood until Saturday morning or Sunday.I'll let ya know how that works out. I do think this will do the trick.I'll post a pic in a while (camera needs to charge)
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Rob
115 Gal. Reverse Flow Build, water heater fire box, forced induction/ PID controller
Kory's 305 Gal. build
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evil16v
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Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 154
Location: Kansas

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12 10 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimmer next to the controller. I used a ammo can to house it all. seals nicely.


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Rob
115 Gal. Reverse Flow Build, water heater fire box, forced induction/ PID controller
Kory's 305 Gal. build
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bullka
Newbie


Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19 10 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A big thanks to evil16v for making this wire diagram for me!
Thought I would share it with everyone.
I am going to put the PID together this weekend and give it a test run.
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bullka
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Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23 10 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got some work done on the PID this weekend.
I built the box to house the PID, fan, fan control and on/off switch.

All of these pictures look bad compared to what they really look like. I will take better pictures when the project is completed.

Here it is all wired to make sure it works. (the fan control is not shown)


A picture of the back of the PID


Put the fan control on the box.


I will get the other parts put in and test it this week.
I am excited to give feedback on how it works!
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xring01
BBQ Fan


Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23 10 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was looking at that smoker on Craigslist...

Good to see someone finally got it. Nice Mods...

Keep posting on the updates.
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evil16v
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Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 154
Location: Kansas

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25 10 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What kind of dimmer switch is that? Mine was only a two wire plus ground.
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Rob
115 Gal. Reverse Flow Build, water heater fire box, forced induction/ PID controller
Kory's 305 Gal. build
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bullka
Newbie


Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Sat Nov 27 10 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

evil16v wrote:
What kind of dimmer switch is that? Mine was only a two wire plus ground.


It is a Leviton Push Dimmer, Not sure if it was a 3 way switch or not.
But I did not use the extra red wire.
Similar to this one.
http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-Dimmers-Switches/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xk4Zbm1o/R-100068979/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

I finally got the smoker running with the temperature controller and it was awesome. Still some fine tuning to do, but overall it worked!
I will post some pictures on Monday.
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evil16v
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Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 154
Location: Kansas

PostPosted: Sat Nov 27 10 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

looks like it'll work fine.
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Rob
115 Gal. Reverse Flow Build, water heater fire box, forced induction/ PID controller
Kory's 305 Gal. build
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bullka
Newbie


Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29 10 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Temperature Controller is FINALLY up and running!
I did two smokes this weekend, 3 turkeys and then a pork butt and brisket.
Both went very well!
Here is where I attached the controller.

It is fully removable and the fan blows through the tube steel and the air is ducted down to the fire.
The 1 inch tube steel runs underneath the fire and has numerous holes drilled in it.
I have not played with the fan control, I just ended up leaving it on full power the whole time.
I still have some minor tweaks but overall it controls the temperature nicely.
I still have to watch it every 30 to 40 minutes to make sure I am not running low on fuel.
But I did leave the house after packing it full of wood and came back 3 hours later and it was on the exact temperature as when I left!

Here is a picture of when I first fired it up and it is getting up to temp.
I still need to run the thermocouple through the side of the smoker.
It took me a while to figure out how to program the PID, but I finally figured it out.


Another view of the controller box.


Picture of two of the three turkeys I smoked on Thursday, and I must say it was one of the best turkeys I have ever had.


The brisket I smoked on Sunday


The pork butt I smoked on Sunday.


Thanks again for everyone's help, I will keep you up to date on any modifications to come.
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evil16v
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Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 154
Location: Kansas

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30 10 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks good...

Approx. how many holes of what size did you go with? I had 12 on a 24" piece of sched 80 2". They were splayed about 10-20* alternately down the pipe(air stream would look like a V from the end). Then i shortened it to about 20" because of the manual air intake I added last week. That eliminated one hole. all where 1/8" holes. I am still trying to get rid of using the manual intake at all. I had to use about 1/4" of a screw out 6" pipe intake. Did you use "manual air" in addition to the fan at all? I keep finding my RF just wants a constant air intake, that is slightly less than it takes to be at temp. Mine worked well (I'll update from turkey day on my thread soon).
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Rob
115 Gal. Reverse Flow Build, water heater fire box, forced induction/ PID controller
Kory's 305 Gal. build
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